Policy

Sex/Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy

Table of Contents

  1. Opening Statement and Purpose
  2. Scope of Policy
  3. Title IX and Nondiscrimination
  4. Retaliation, Misuse of Confidential Information, and False Accusations
  5. Time Considerations for Reporting and Filing Claims of Sex/Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct
  6. Amnesty for Violations of the College's Alcohol and Illegal Drug Use Policies to Individuals Who Report Incidents of Sexual Misconduct
  7. Available Resources and Recommended Immediate Steps Following An Incident of Sex/Gender Discrimination and/or Sexual Misconduct
  8. Options and Procedures for Reporting or Disclosing Title IX Incidents of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct
  9. Filing a Claim of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct
  10. Confidentiality and Anonymous Reporting or Filing
  11. Interim and Remedial Measures
  12. Investigation and Resolution Processes for Cases in Which Both Parties Are Students
  13. Definitions

I. Opening Statement and Purpose

Rhodes College is committed to ensuring a safe learning environment that supports the dignity of all members of the Rhodes community. Rhodes does not discriminate on the basis of sex or gender in any of its education or employment programs and activities. To that end, this policy prohibits specific forms of behavior that violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and which are antithetical to the educational mission of Rhodes.

Rhodes will not tolerate sexual misconduct, which is prohibited, and which includes, but is not limited to, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, and stalking. Rhodes strongly encourages students to report instances of sexual misconduct immediately. Employees are required to report such instances, pursuant to Rhodes’ Employee Handbook and Rhodes’ Mandatory Reporter Policy.

These policies and procedures are intended to ensure that all students involved in a Title IX case receive appropriate support and fair treatment, and that allegations of sexual misconduct are handled in a prompt, thorough and equitable manner.

Relevant terms are defined in Sections II below and XIII at the end of this policy.

Maintaining an atmosphere of free inquiry is crucial to the teaching and research mission of the College. This policy is not intended to inhibit or prohibit educational content or discussions inside or outside of the classroom that include controversial or sensitive subject matters protected by academic freedom. Academic freedom extends to topics that are pedagogically appropriate and germane to the subject matter of courses or that touch on academic exploration of matters of public concern.

Rhodes will review, evaluate, and make any revisions or amendments to this policy on an ongoing and as-needed basis.

General inquiries about the application of this policy should be directed to the College’s Title IX Coordinator:

Tiffany Baker Cox, J.D.
Title IX Coordinator
Rhodes College
Palmer Hall, Ste. 303
2000 North Parkway
Memphis, TN 38112
901-843-3606
coxt2@rhodes.edu

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II. Scope of Policy

A. Scope. This policy applies to all Rhodes community members, including students, faculty, administrators, staff, and any individuals regularly or temporarily employed, studying, living, visiting, conducting business or having any official capacity with the College or on College property (“Rhodes Community”) related to any alleged incident of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct that could impact any student’s educational opportunities at Rhodes.

This policy and its supplemental procedural guidance are intended to protect and guide individuals who have been affected by sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct, whether as a Claimant, a Respondent, or as a witness, and to provide fair and equitable procedures for investigation and resolution of Reports and Claims. It does not apply to sexual harassment or discrimination under Title VII between employees or between an employee and a non-student, as those situations are governed by the Employee Handbook.

B. Overview of policy and certain key definitions. Rhodes will investigate all reports it receives of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct (“Reports”), and Rhodes is authorized to take certain actions to address or remedy sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct after receiving a Report, during an investigation, and after an investigation even if the matter does not proceed to a Formal Resolution Hearing.

Anyone can report incidents of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct to Rhodes under the procedure described in Section VIII of this policy. For example, a “Reporter” can be any individual who reports to Rhodes that they are a victim or survivor of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct or that they have been affected by sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct (sometimes referred to as a “First-Party Reporter”) or that they have knowledge of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct happening to or affecting someone else (sometimes referred to as a “Third-Party Reporter”).

A Report will become a “Claim” if a First-Party Reporter files a written document with the Title IX Coordinator describing an incident of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct and indicating that they want the College to take further steps beyond the investigation, such as holding a Formal Resolution Hearing to resolve the alleged issue. Any Report can become a “Claim” if Rhodes determines that, in order to meet its Title IX obligations to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the broader Rhodes Community, it must take further steps beyond the investigation, such as holding a Formal Resolution Hearing.

A “Claimant” refers to an individual who has been subjected to an incident of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct (i.e., a First-Party Reporter or a victim or person who has otherwise been affected by sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct) that proceeds to a Claim. A Claimant has certain rights under this policy, as discussed below. A Reporter who reports witnessing sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct happening to or affecting someone else (i.e., a Third-Party Reporter) can file a Report and request that it be treated as a Claim, but that does not make them a Claimant.

A “Respondent” refers to an individual who has been accused of prohibited conduct under this policy. A student Respondent has certain rights under this policy, as discussed below.

A “third party” refers to any other participant in the process, including a witness to the incident or an individual who makes a Report on behalf of someone else.

As used throughout this policy, references to the “Title IX Coordinator” shall include any Deputy Title IX Coordinator and any other person expressly designated by the Title IX Coordinator to act on their behalf.

Additional definitions are contained in Section XIII at the end of this policy.

C. Jurisdiction and Authority of the Title IX Coordinator. All Rhodes College community members are required to follow College policies and local, state, and federal law. This policy applies to all members of the Rhodes community and applies to conduct occurring on Rhodes College property; at College-sanctioned events or programs that take place off campus, including, for example, study abroad and internship programs; or at events or programs hosted by College-recognized organizations that take place off campus. This policy may apply regardless of the location of the incident if it is likely to have a substantial adverse effect on, or poses a threat of danger to, the educational opportunities provided by Rhodes College.

The College encourages anyone who has witnessed or experienced an incident of sexual misconduct or sex/gender discrimination to report it regardless of where the incident occurred, or who committed it. Even if the College does not have jurisdiction over the Respondent, the College may take prompt action to provide for the safety and well-being of any affected person and the broader College community.

Rhodes, through the Title IX Coordinator, has jurisdiction over and the authority to receive, investigate, hear and resolve Reports and/or Claims brought by or against any member of the Rhodes Community that invoke Title IX. The Title IX Coordinator is ultimately authorized to enact procedures that include specific instructions for reporting, investigating and resolving Title IX Claims and Reports, including those that are received during the non-academic year or that extend into the non-academic year. Formal Resolution Hearings that occur during the non-academic year may be conducted via video conference and/or teleconference, as needed.

The College retains the right to utilize different processes for cases in which a student is a party if an employee or faculty member is also a party to the case.
D. Application of policy. This policy, as amended, shall apply to all Reports received after August 1, 2018, regardless of the date of the alleged incident. It shall not apply to Reports received prior to August 1, 2018, as the prior iteration of this policy shall apply to those cases.

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III. Title IX and Nondiscrimination

Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. Title IX prohibits use of federal money to support sex discrimination in education programs and provides individuals effective protection against such practices. Title IX applies, with a few specific exceptions, to all aspects of federally funded education programs and activities. In addition to traditional education institutions such as colleges, universities, and elementary and secondary schools, Title IX also applies to any education or training program operated by a recipient of federal financial assistance.

Consistent with Title IX, as well as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and any related federal, state, and local laws, Rhodes prohibits all unlawful discrimination, harassment and retaliation on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation in any employment decision, education program or educational activity. This policy applies to all members of the Rhodes Community as defined above.

As part of its commitment to maintaining a community free of discrimination, and in compliance with Title IX’s mandate, Rhodes College will address allegations of sexual misconduct or harassment in a timely and effective way, provide resources as needed for affected persons (Reporters, Claimants, Respondents and third parties within the Rhodes Community), and not tolerate retaliation against any person who reports sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct.

Any individual designated by Rhodes to have the authority to address or duty to report alleged sex/gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment and/or retaliation (known as a “Mandatory Reporter”) and who fails to report such conduct may be subjected to sanctions by the College.

General inquiries about the application of Title IX should be directed to the College’s Title IX Coordinator via TitleIX@Rhodes.edu. Further information about Rhodes’ Title IX Coordinator can be found on Rhodes’ website http://sites.Rhodes.edu/TitleNine.

Inquiries about the application of Title IX also can be directed to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

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IV. Retaliation, Misuse of Confidential Information, and False Accusations

Rhodes College expressly prohibits retaliation against anyone who: 1) in good faith, reports what they believe is discrimination or sexual misconduct, 2) participates in any investigation or proceeding under this policy, or 3) opposes conduct that they believe to violate this policy. Retaliation includes intimidation, harassment, threats, or other adverse action or speech against the person who reported the misconduct, the parties, and their witnesses. Consistent with FERPA’s prohibition on re-disclosure of confidential information, parties, witnesses, advisors and supporters are prohibited from using or disclosing other people’s confidential information, learned as a result of participation in any investigation or proceeding under this policy, outside of such forums without express consent or for any improper purpose. Rhodes will not only take steps to prevent retaliation, but it will also take strong corrective action if it occurs.

Anyone who believes they have been the victim of retaliation should immediately report it to the Title IX Coordinator, who shall treat it as a Report. Any individual found to have retaliated against another individual will be in violation of this policy and will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and potentially including termination for employees and expulsion for students.

Anyone who knowingly makes a false accusation of unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation of any form will be subject to an investigation for a potential violation of this policy and may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and potentially including termination for employees and expulsion for students.

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V. Time Considerations for Reporting and Filing Claims of Sex/Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct

There is no time limit for reporting incidents of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct under this policy, although Rhodes encourages reports to be made as soon as possible. Any individual who has been subjected to, or who knows of or has witnessed, an incident of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct is encouraged to report the incident or file a Claim immediately in order to maximize the College’s ability to obtain information and conduct an adequate, thorough, prompt, and impartial investigation into the incident. A delayed Report of alleged Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct may result in the loss of relevant information, evidence, and reliable witness testimony, and may impair the College’s ability to fully investigate the incident. If an individual wishes to file a claim with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, they must do so within 180 days of the incident based on the time limits for adjudication set by that agency.

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VI. Amnesty for Violations of the College's Alcohol and Illegal Drug Use Policies to Individuals Who Report Incidents of Sexual Misconduct

Rhodes strongly encourages individuals who have been involved in, or who know of, or have witnessed, incidents of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct to report such incidents as soon as possible. The College recognizes that students involved (e.g. as witnesses, bystanders, third parties, or Claimants) who have violated the College’s drug and alcohol policy may be hesitant to report out of fear of sanction. Therefore, in order to encourage reporting in all situations, anyone who reports or experiences Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct may be granted amnesty for any violation of the College’s drug and alcohol policy that occurred in connection with the reported incident. Rhodes intends to grant such amnesty for all but the most egregious violations of the College’s drug and alcohol policy; however, individuals may be provided with resources on drug and alcohol counseling and/or education, as appropriate.
Honor code and other code or policy violations discovered during a Title IX process may be referred to the appropriate College office(s).

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VII. Available Resources and Recommended Immediate Steps Following An Incident of Sex/Gender Discrimination and/or Sexual Misconduct

Law Enforcement Local Hospitals

Emergency Assistance:

911

Methodist University Hospital

1265 Union Ave

901-516-7000

Memphis Police Department Sex Crimes Squad:

901-636-3330

Baptist Memorial Hospital

6019 Walnut Grove Road

901-226-5000

Rhodes College Campus Safety:

901-843-3880

St. Francis Hospital

5959 Park Ave

901-765-1000

For a forensic exam and rape kit collection, as well as additional off-campus medical services, contact the Shelby County Rape Crisis Center at (901) 222-4350.

The College is acutely aware that an individual who has been subjected to, or who knows of or who has witnessed a sex offense may experience physical, mental and emotional trauma as a result of the incident. A victim of sexual violence (e.g., sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking) is encouraged to follow these procedures immediately following the occurrence, when possible:

A. Get to a safe place immediately and call someone you trust.
B. If sexual contact and/or penetration occurred, do not wash, shower, bathe, use the toilet or change clothing. Preserve any evidence as would be necessary to prove the offense, or in obtaining a judicial protective order, restraining order, and/or no-contact order. Examples of such evidence include:

  • Clothing worn during the incident, including but not limited to undergarments;
  • Sheets, bedding, and condoms, if used;
  • A list of witnesses with contact information;
  • Text messages, emails, call history, and digital media posts; and
  • Pictures of any injuries.

C. You are encouraged to call the appropriate law enforcement agency. To contact the Memphis Police Department Sex Crimes Squad, call (901) 636-3330. Rhodes College Campus Safety, (901) 843-3880, can assist any student with reporting a crime to the Memphis Police Department.

D. Get medical attention. Campus Safety will assist you in calling Emergency Medical Services (911) if you ask them to. The College also encourages you to go, or have someone else take you, directly to a medical facility or medical provider of your choice. In Memphis, the Shelby County Rape Crisis Center is the only location where trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners are authorized to perform a forensic examination and collect evidence for use in a criminal proceeding. To contact the Shelby County Rape Crisis Center please call (901) 222-4350.

E. The College will assist an individual who has been subjected to, who knows of, or who has witnessed an incident of Sexual Misconduct in obtaining the services of counseling professionals, if requested. The College encourages you to seek support services. For on-campus student counseling services, contact the Counseling Center at (901) 843-3128. For off-campus counseling and advocacy services, contact the Shelby County Rape Crisis Center at (901) 222-4350. The College will provide as much assistance as possible but cannot assume financial responsibility for such services.

F. All members of the campus community are encouraged to seek resources and support related to sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct proceedings, including Respondents, witnesses and bystanders. For more information, see Rhodes’ Title IX website at http://sites.Rhodes.edu/TitleNine.

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VIII. Options and Procedures for Reporting or Disclosing Title IX Incidents of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct

A. Options for Reporting to Rhodes Under This Policy. Anyone can report an incident of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct to Rhodes (a “Report”). A Report can be made by any individual who is a victim or survivor of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct, who has been affected by sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct, or who has knowledge of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct happening to or affecting someone else. A Report may be made anonymously (see Section X). The College strongly encourages all individuals to report incidents of sexual misconduct and sex/gender discrimination even if the individual does not intend to pursue a Claim. No person should assume that an incident has already been reported by someone else or that the College already knows about a particular situation.

Rhodes will investigate all Reports and may implement remedial steps as needed, but that does not mean every Report will become a Claim or that the College will pursue a formal resolution.
In order to make a Report to Rhodes, a reporting individual may do one or more of the following:

1. Report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator via email to TitleIX@rhodes.edu, by calling 901-843-3606, or by submitting an online Report form available on Rhodes Express, at http://sites.Rhodes.edu/TitleNine, or http://bit.ly/rhodestixreport. Reporters are encouraged, but not required, to direct their Reports to the Title IX Coordinator.

Notifying the Title IX Coordinator of any incident of alleged Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct will trigger an investigation into the alleged incident.

2. Report the incident to any Resident Assistant, Peer Advocate, faculty or staff member. However, the Counseling Center and Health Services staff are considered “confidential resources” staff.

It is important to know that, with the exception of the “confidential resources” staff listed below in Section VIII.B., all Rhodes faculty and staff are Mandatory Reporters and are required by the College to report any knowledge they receive of possible violations of this policy to the Title IX Coordinator. Mandatory Reporters must relay all known information about any reported policy violation, including but not limited to: the names of involved individuals, the nature of the incident, and the time and location of the incident. (See Section X for information about confidential and anonymous reporting.)

All Resident Assistants and members of the Peer Advocate Center are also Mandatory Reporters and are required to report any knowledge of possible violations of the policy to the Title IX Coordinator. No other students are obligated to report knowledge they may have of sexual misconduct, including student employees of Rhodes who are considered students and not staff for purposes of this policy and are not Mandatory Reporters.

Once the Title IX Coordinator learns of any incident of alleged sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct from a Mandatory Reporter, they will initiate an investigation into the alleged incident. Following an investigation, the Title IX Coordinator has authority to resolve a Report, including the implementation of any remedial measures, and close the case.

3. After making a Report, an individual may choose to end involvement in the process, may choose to be involved or not be involved in the College’s investigation and any related proceedings, or may choose to file or request a formal Claim and pursue Formal Resolution or, if applicable, an Informal Resolution Conference involving the Respondent.

B. Options Utilizing Confidential Resources. Rather than making a Report, individuals can confidentially discuss incidents of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct with one of the following College “confidential resources” staff:

  • Any member of the Student Health Services staff located at the Moore-Moore Student Health Center - (901) 843-3895
  • Student Counseling Center staff - Moore-Moore Student Health Center - (901) 843-3128
  • Rhodes Chaplain- Burrow Hall, Room 102- (901) 843-3822

Disclosures made to these confidential resources will be held in strict confidence, and will not constitute a Report to Rhodes under this policy. These confidential resources may assist individuals with reporting incidents or filing Claims if, and only if, they are requested to do so by the individual who has reported the sexual misconduct.

Specific and personally identifiable information given to one of these confidential resources will not be disclosed to the Title IX Coordinator without consent. However, in order to assist the College in collecting data and identifying patterns or systemic problems related to sexual violence on and off campus, the “confidential resources” staff will convey general information about the incident (i.e. nature, time and location of incident) to the Title IX Coordinator. In such cases, the College will protect confidentiality and avoid disclosing personally identifiable information about individuals involved in the incident.

See Section X regarding making confidential and anonymous Reports to Rhodes.

C. Options for Notifying Off-Campus Law Enforcement Authorities. Individuals can notify off-campus law enforcement authorities about any incident of alleged sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct, including by dialing (911), calling the Memphis Police Department Sex Crimes Squad at (901) 636-3330, and/or calling the Shelby County Rape Crisis Center at (901) 222-4350. Individuals can also contact other law enforcement agencies, depending on the location of the incident. Notifying off-campus law enforcement authorities will not constitute a Report to Rhodes under this policy, but it may or may not result in such authorities reporting relevant information back to Rhodes which Rhodes will investigate.

Individuals can request assistance from Rhodes faculty and staff in notifying appropriate law enforcement authorities, which the College will provide. Requesting such assistance from a Mandatory Reporter will constitute a Report as described above.

D. Option to Not Report. Individuals can choose not to notify Rhodes or any law enforcement authorities about an alleged incident of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct.

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IX. Filing a Claim of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct

If an individual wishes to pursue an incident of Title IX sexual misconduct or sex/gender discrimination beyond simply reporting it, they may file a Claim. The filing of a Claim means that the individual is asking the College to take further steps beyond the investigation, such as holding a Formal Resolution Hearing to resolve the alleged issue. Any Claimant (i.e., a victim or survivor or someone who has otherwise been directly affected by sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct) may file a Claim, and Rhodes will treat it as such. Any Third-Party Reporter may request that Rhodes treat their Report as a Claim, but that would not make the Third-Party Reporter into a Claimant.

In order to meet its Title IX obligations to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the broader Rhodes Community, the College may also convert any Report into a Claim if the College determines that it must take further steps to protect the Rhodes Community.

A. Filing a Claim. Anyone seeking to file a Claim of individual or institutional Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct may do so with the Title IX Coordinator. Claims must be in writing and include all information that the filer believes to be relevant (e.g., time, location and nature of incident, names of individuals involved in or witnesses to the incident, names of other persons affected by the incident, etc.). Alternatively, an individual can also file a Claim by meeting with the Title IX Coordinator and providing a verbal description of the Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct, which the Title IX Coordinator will use to draft a written document that the individual will review, verify and sign to constitute a Claim.

B. Action Following the Filing of a Claim. Rhodes will investigate all Claims of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct. Upon the completion of an investigation, the Claim will typically proceed to a Formal Resolution Hearing before a Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board to determine whether the Respondent is responsible or not responsible for having violated this policy except in those circumstances described below. In some instances, an Informal Resolution Conference may be an option for resolving a Claim.

C. The Title IX Coordinator shall have discretion to resolve a Claim without a Formal Resolution Hearing in the following circumstances:

(1) if Rhodes lacks jurisdiction;
(2) if a case involves a Rhodes employee (faculty, staff member or contract services employee), the Title IX Coordinator shall coordinate with the Chief Human Resources Officer about appropriate processes and/or resolution;
(3) if the allegations could not constitute a policy violation under any alleged circumstances;
(4) if the Claim is eligible for the Informal Resolution process;
(5) if the Claim was requested by a Third-Party Reporter who reported witnessing sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct happening to or affecting someone else, the Title IX Coordinator shall have discretion to resolve the Claim or to provide modified hearing procedures, particularly to account for the alleged victim’s wishes (e.g., if they do not wish to pursue the Claim as a first-party Claimant);
(6) if the Claimant and Respondent both consent to an alternative resolution, with such consent obtained independently from each person by the Title IX Coordinator to avoid a risk of coercion;
(7) for matters that do not involve Rhodes employees (faculty, staff member or contract services employee), if either Claimant or Respondent, or both, are not Rhodes students, or cease to be Rhodes students prior to final resolution of the Claim (i.e., student withdrawal), the Title IX Coordinator shall have discretion to resolve the Claim or to provide modified hearing procedures;
(8) or, if the Respondent admits responsibility for a violation, the Title IX Coordinator shall have discretion to resolve the Claim or to provide modified hearing procedures to help the Hearing Board decide appropriate sanctions.

In all circumstances, the Title IX Coordinator shall have authority to impose remedial measures and make accommodations consistent with Section XI below and take other measures consistent the Rhodes Student Handbook; and for employee matters, the Chief Human Resources Officer or the Vice President of Academic Affairs/Dean of the Faculty shall have authority to take action consistent with the Rhodes College Handbook.

D. A person may withdraw a Claim. If a Claim is withdrawn, Rhodes will treat the withdrawn claim as a Report and proceed with an investigation.

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X. Confidentiality and Anonymous Reporting

As discussed above in Section VIII.B., individuals can confidentially discuss incidents of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct with the College “confidential resources” staff. However, if an individual affected by sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct wants to make a Report to Rhodes about an incident but wants to request anonymity or confidentiality, or if a Third-Party Reporter makes a Report about an incident involving them, the provisions below may be applicable.

Any individual can make an anonymous Report of a violation of the College’s Sex/Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy. An individual may report the incident without disclosing their name, identifying a Claimant or a Respondent, or requesting any action. The College will attempt to investigate all such Reports, but depending on the extent of information available about the incident or the individuals involved, the College’s ability to respond to an anonymous Report may be limited. The anonymous reporting form can be found on the College’s website (http://sites.Rhodes.edu/TitleNine). The Title IX Coordinator will receive the anonymous Report and will determine any appropriate steps, including individual or community remedies as appropriate.

Additionally, a Reporter can make a Report disclosing their name but requesting confidentiality. An affected person who is the subject of a Third-Party Report can also request confidentiality. The College recognizes that, in some instances, an individual who has been subjected to, or who knows of or has witnessed, an incident of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct may request that their name not be disclosed or that no investigation or disciplinary action be pursued to address the alleged misconduct. In such instances, the Title IX Coordinator will respect the request for confidentiality; however, that request must be weighed against the College’s obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, considering many factors, including:

  • The seriousness of the alleged misconduct;
  • Whether there have been other reports of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct against the Respondent known by the College;
  • Whether the Respondent has allegedly threatened further misconduct or violence;
  • Whether the alleged misconduct was committed by multiple perpetrators;
  • Whether the alleged misconduct involved use of a weapon;
  • The age of the individual subjected to the alleged misconduct;
  • Whether the College possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence of the alleged misconduct;
  • Whether the Report reveals a pattern of misconduct at a particular location or by a particular individual or group of individuals; and
  • The accused individual’s right to receive information about the allegations if the information is maintained by the College as an “education record” under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), if applicable.

In all cases of alleged gender/sex discrimination or misconduct, Title IX allows Rhodes to investigate and take reasonable corrective action. Further, Title IX permits Rhodes to deny or modify requests for confidentiality if the Title IX Coordinator determines, subject to the factors listed above, that the College must do so in order to meet the College’s Title IX obligations to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the broader Rhodes Community. These instances will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Please note that the College’s ability to investigate and respond fully to an incident may be limited because of requests for confidentiality or to not proceed with disciplinary action.

Pursuant to the Clery Act, as amended by the Violence Against Women Act, Rhodes is required to provide equal access to the Claimant and Respondent to any information related to allegations of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence or stalking that will be used during formal or informal disciplinary meetings or hearings.

In an instance where Rhodes determines it must deny or modify a request for confidentiality, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the requesting individual prior to making the disclosure to anyone beyond necessary school officials. Any such disclosure will be limited to only individuals with a need to know such information. Consistent with FERPA’s prohibition on re-disclosure of confidential information, any recipient is prohibited from using or disclosing other people’s confidential information, learned as a result of participation in any investigation or proceeding under this policy, outside of such forums without express consent or for any improper purpose. In all instances, members of the Rhodes Community should understand that Title IX prohibits retaliation against anyone reporting a potential Title IX incident, and that College officials will not only take steps to prevent retaliation but also take strong responsive action if it occurs.

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XI. Interim and Remedial Measures

In cases of reported alleged Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct involving students, the College may implement interim and remedial measures before the final outcome of an investigation or hearing to the extent the College determines such measures are necessary. The Title IX Coordinator shall have responsibility for determining such interim and remedial measures. Some of these remedial measures also may continue in effect after an investigation is closed or as post-hearing sanctions or accommodations. Examples of interim and remedial measures that the College may consider and elect to implement include, but are not limited to:

  • implementing a “no contact” order to govern, and attempt to avoid, interaction between affected individuals;
  • providing a campus safety escort to ensure a Claimant can move safely between buildings, classes, dining halls, and activities on campus;
  • ensuring that the Claimant and the Respondent do not attend the same classes, seminars, functions, meetings, etc.;
  • offering to provide or facilitate the provision of medical, counseling and mental health services, but not necessarily covering the cost of such services;
  • providing education regarding gender discrimination, sexual misconduct, alcohol and drug use, incapacitation and consent, etc.;
  • reviewing any academic challenges or any disciplinary actions taken against the Claimant to see if there is a causal connection between the events that may have impacted the Claimant;
  • changing on-campus living arrangements, when reasonable;
  • providing increased monitoring, supervision, or security at locations or activities where the misconduct occurred; and
  • limiting the access of the individual accused of the misconduct to certain College facilities until the matter is resolved, including the possibility of an interim suspension if warranted.

The College may also, upon request, arrange for the re-taking, changing or withdrawing from classes, and in such instances, Rhodes will make every reasonable effort to mitigate any academic or financial penalty for providing such arrangements.

Interim and remedial measures shall be balanced based on the facts collected, seriousness of the allegations, and the potential safety risks posed to the Rhodes Community (i.e., an interim suspension will be rare early in the investigation process, but may be more common late in the process when an investigation finds some evidence to potentially corroborate a serious allegation).

If a Claimant or Respondent withdraws from Rhodes after a Report or Claim is filed but before the matter is resolved, the Title IX Coordinator shall have discretion on how to proceed with the investigation, its resolution, and any interim or remedial measures. The Title IX Coordinator shall have discretion to hold a Respondent’s transcript if they withdraw while a Report or Claim is pending, and to not release it to another school until the matter is resolved with or without the Respondent’s participation.

The College may also consider and take interim and remedial measures that affect the broader Rhodes Community and which are aimed to eliminate occurrences of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct and to promote academic and employment environments free of such conduct.

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XII. Investigation and Resolution Processes for Cases in Which Both Parties are Students

This Section describes Rhodes’ investigation and resolution processes for cases in which both parties are students. For more details, please refer to the Procedural Guidance accompanying this policy.

A. Investigation. The College will investigate all Reports of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct regardless of whether the Report becomes a Claim. The process typically will begin with intake meetings conducted by the Title IX Coordinator. The investigation phase may include interviewing the Claimant/ First-Party Reporter, the Respondent, and any witnesses; reviewing law enforcement investigation documents if applicable; reviewing relevant student files; and gathering and examining other relevant documents and evidence.

For Reports, the Title IX Coordinator or his/her designee will conduct an initial investigation. If that initial investigation demonstrates that the case may implicate the College’s Title IX obligations to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the broader Rhodes Community, the Title IX Coordinator will treat the Report as a Claim and follow the Claim processes outlined herein and in the accompanying Procedural Guidance. If the Title IX Coordinator determines that the Report does not implicate such community safety considerations, then after the Title IX Coordinator’s investigation, implementation of any interim or remedial measures, and finalization of any investigation memo, the Title IX Coordinator will be authorized to close the matter.

For Claims, the Title IX Coordinator will appoint an investigator (“Investigator”) to handle the investigation. Following the investigation, the Investigator will draft an investigation report succinctly describing all collected information. The report will be delivered to the Title IX Coordinator, who will analyze the report to ensure that the investigation was prompt, fair, impartial, thorough, and consistent with this policy. The Investigator will not make any recommendation as to whether a policy violation has occurred or potential sanctions. Depending on how the Claim proceeds, the investigation report and other materials related to the investigation may be presented at a Formal Resolution Hearing and/or may be presented at an Informal Resolution Conference.

The College will make reasonable efforts to balance and protect the rights of the parties during any investigation commenced under this policy. Rhodes will respect the privacy of the parties and any witnesses in a manner consistent with the College’s obligations to investigate the alleged incident, and take appropriate interim and/or corrective action. The Title IX Coordinator will keep the parties reasonably informed of the status of the investigation.

Both Claimants and Respondents may utilize Advisors and Supporters throughout the investigation process, including to accompany them to any hearing, conference, or related disciplinary proceeding.

B. Informal Resolution Conference. For Claims with a student Respondent that do not involve allegations of Sexual Violence (i.e., sexual harassment of a non-physical nature) or at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, the parties may opt to pursue an Informal Resolution Conference as an alternative to a Formal Resolution Hearing. An Informal Resolution Conference is a remedies-based, non-judicial approach designed to eliminate a potentially hostile working or academic environment. This process aims to assure fairness, to facilitate communication, and to maintain an equitable balance of power between the parties. The College will not compel face-to-face confrontation between the parties or participation in any particular form of informal resolution. Depending on the form of informal resolution used, it may be possible to maintain anonymity.

The Title IX Coordinator will make an initial decision about whether a case qualifies for an Informal Resolution Conference, and if both parties then agree to pursue that path, the College will halt any investigation or scheduled Formal Resolution Hearing so that the parties can explore the possibility of informal resolution. Participation in an Informal Resolution Conference is voluntary, and either party can request to end the conference at any time and return the investigation or proceeding to its pre-conference status. Agreements reached in an Informal Resolution Conference are final and not subject to appeal.

C. Formal Resolution Hearing. A Formal Resolution Hearing is the College’s formal disciplinary proceeding through which a Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board evaluates evidence related to a Claim to determine whether a student Respondent is responsible or not responsible for a violation of this policy, based on the criteria of “a preponderance of evidence.” If the Respondent is found in violation of the policy, the Respondent may be subjected to disciplinary action.

The parties will be provided notice of the date, time and location of the hearing. At least ten (10) business days prior to a hearing, both parties and the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board will be provided access to a hearing packet containing the investigation report and other information pertinent to the hearing. The hearing may consist of testimony by the parties, witnesses and the Investigator, and may include the presentation of other evidence. The Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board will be allowed to question each witness who appears, and the parties will be allowed to ask questions through the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board. The parties will be provided notice of the outcome of the Board’s deliberations, including the determination of whether the Respondent was found responsible or not responsible for the alleged violation(s) and applicable sanction(s). Decisions made in a Formal Resolution Hearing may be appealed. The Title IX Coordinator will be authorized to stay sanctions pending appeal and/or make further accommodations that are consistent with the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board’s decision.

D. Appeals. Either Claimant or Respondent may appeal any Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board decision. Appeals can only be raised on one or more of the following grounds: (1) to determine whether there was a material deviation from the procedural protections provided; (2) to consider new facts or information sufficient to alter the decision that were not known or knowable to the appealing party before or during the time of the hearing; (3) to determine whether the decision reached was based on a preponderance of evidence; or (4) to determine whether the sanctions were disproportionate to the findings. The appeal will be reviewed and determined by an Appeals Board, based on the grounds contained in the appeal statement. Appeals decisions are final and not subject to further review.

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XIII. Definitions

Please also refer to Section II.B. for more information about certain key definitions.

Advisor: Refers to an attorney or a non-attorney advisor who can provide assistance to the Claimant or the Respondent during Formal Resolution Hearings, Informal Resolution Conferences, and any other stage of the processes covered by this policy. The College will provide a list of faculty and staff who have received training to serve as Advisors.

Affirmative Consent: Means an affirmative, conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. All five of the following elements are essential in order to have affirmative consent. If one or more of the following is absent, there is no affirmative consent.

A. Consists of Mutually Understandable Communication: Communication regarding consent consists of mutually understandable words and/or actions that indicate an unambiguous willingness to engage in sexual activity. In the absence of clear communication or outward demonstration, there is no consent. Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, lack of resistance or lack of active response. An individual who does not physically resist or verbally refuse sexual activity is not necessarily giving consent. Relying solely upon non-verbal communication can lead to a false conclusion as to whether consent was sought or given. Verbal communication is the best way to ensure all individuals are willing and consenting to the sexual activity.

B. Informed and Reciprocal: All parties must demonstrate a clear and mutual understanding of the nature and scope of the act to which they are consenting and a willingness to do the same thing, at the same time, in the same way.

C. Freely and Actively Given: Consent cannot be obtained through the use of force, coercion, threats, intimidation or pressuring, or by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another individual.

D. Not Unlimited: Consent to one form of sexual contact does not constitute consent to all forms of sexual contact, nor does consent to sexual activity with one person constitute consent to activity with any other person. Each participant in a sexual encounter must consent to each form of sexual contact with each participant. Even in the context of a current or previous intimate relationship, each party must consent to each instance of sexual contact each time. The consent must be based on mutually understandable communication that clearly indicates a willingness to engage in sexual activity. The mere fact that there has been prior intimacy or sexual activity does not, by itself, imply consent to future acts.

E. Not Indefinite: Consent may be withdrawn by any party at any time. Recognizing the dynamic nature of sexual activity, individuals choosing to engage in sexual activity must evaluate consent in an ongoing manner and communicate clearly throughout all stages of sexual activity. Withdrawal of consent can be an expressed “no” or can be based on an outward demonstration that conveys that an individual is hesitant, confused, uncertain or is no longer a mutual participant. Once consent is withdrawn, the sexual activity must cease immediately and all parties must obtain mutually expressed or clearly stated consent before continuing further sexual activity.

Because of the commitment to maintaining an environment that supports Rhodes’ educational mission, the College prohibits romantic, sexual, and exploitative relationships between college employees and students. (See Rhodes College Handbook-Fraternization Policy For Faculty and Staff)

Under Tennessee law, people under the age of eighteen (18) may not be able to legally consent under certain circumstances.

Appeals Board: Refers to a group of trained College faculty and staff members that hears and decides appeals of findings and sanctions imposed by the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board (defined below). The Appeals Board will consist of three members (one of whom will be designated as the board’s chairperson), selected from a pool of trained faculty and staff. This three-member board is authorized to affirm, alter, or reverse the original findings and/or sanctions recommended by the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board. Once issued, the Appeals Board’s decision is final.

Claim: Refers to a formal written complaint filed with the Title IX Coordinator alleging any action, policy, procedure or practice that would be prohibited by Title IX, such as Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct, and indicating that they want the College to take further steps beyond an investigation. A Claim may be filed by a Claimant or may be requested by another individual who knows of or witnessed an incident of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct but who did not suffer such misconduct themselves. A Report can also become a Claim if Rhodes determines that, in order to meet its Title IX obligations to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the broader Rhodes Community, it must take further steps such as holding a Formal Resolution Hearing.

Claimant: Refers to an individual who has been subjected to an incident of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct that proceeds to a Claim.

Clery Act: Refers to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security and Campus Crime Statistics Act, 20 U.S.C. Section 1092(f); 34 C.F.R., Part 668.46. It requires colleges and universities, both public and private, participating in federal student aid programs to disclose campus safety information, and imposes certain basic requirements for handling incidents of sexual violence and emergency situations.

Coercion: Means the use of pressure to compel another individual to initiate or continue activity against their will, including psychological or emotional pressure, physical or emotional threats, intimidation, manipulation, or blackmail. Coercion is defined under Tennessee law to include a threat of kidnapping, extortion, force or violence to be performed immediately or in the future. A person’s words or conduct are sufficient to constitute coercion if they wrongfully impair another individual’s freedom of will and ability to choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity. Examples of coercion include, but are not limited to threatening to “out” someone based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression; threatening to harm oneself if the other party does not engage in the sexual activity; and threatening to expose someone’s prior sexual activity to another person and/or through digital media.

Consent: See Affirmative Consent above.

Dating Violence: See Sexual Misconduct below, Subsection A.

Domestic Violence or Domestic Assault: See Sexual Misconduct below, Subsection B.

Formal Resolution: Refers to the College's formal disciplinary proceeding through which the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board evaluates evidence related to a Claim to determine whether a Respondent is in violation of this policy, based on the criteria of a preponderance of evidence.

Incapacitation: Means the lack of the ability to make rational, reasonable judgments as a result of alcohol consumption, other drug use, sleep, the taking of any so-called “date-rape” drug, unconsciousness, or blackout. An individual unable to make informed judgments is physically helpless. An incapacitated person cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because that person lacks the ability to fully understand the who, what, where, or how of their sexual interaction. Incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication, in which alcohol, drugs, or other factors render one unable to make fully informed judgments or have an awareness of consequences. Evaluating incapacitation also requires an assessment of whether a Respondent knew or should have known of the other individual's incapacitated state. While incapacitation may be caused by drugs or alcohol, it also includes the state of being asleep, during which time a person is unable to provide affirmative consent.

Informal Resolution Conference: Is intended to allow the Claimant and the Respondent to provide information about the alleged incident(s) of discrimination or harassment, and to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. This process aims to assure fairness, to facilitate communication, and to maintain an equitable balance of power between the parties.

Investigator: Refers to an official(s) designated by the Title IX Coordinator to conduct an investigation of alleged Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct, and who acts as a witness in the event of a Formal Resolution Hearing. The Investigator will be a trained individual who objectively collects and examines the facts and circumstances of potential violations of this policy and documents them for review. The Investigator will be neutral and will hold no biases in the investigation.

Mandatory Reporter: Refers to an individual who is obligated to report any knowledge they may have of Sex/Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct. Rhodes College defines all faculty and staff as mandatory reporters except certain “confidential resources” staff. (See Section VIII above.) The only students who are designated as Mandatory Reporters are Resident Assistants and members of the Peer Advocate Center.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: See Sexual Misconduct below, Subsection C.

Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration: See Sexual Misconduct below, Subsection D.

Preponderance of Evidence: Refers to the standard by which it is determined at a hearing whether or not a violation of this policy has occurred, and means that an act of sex discrimination is “more likely than not” to have occurred. This standard applies for all claims of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence.

Report: Refers to any communication that puts a Rhodes Mandatory Reporter on notice of an allegation that sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct occurred or may have occurred. Rhodes will investigate all Reports it receives of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct. After making a Report, an individual may choose to end their involvement in the process, may choose to be involved or not be involved in the College’s investigation and related proceedings, or may choose to file a formal Claim and pursue Formal Resolution or an Informal Resolution Conference. The College strongly encourages all individuals to report incidents of sexual misconduct and sex/gender discrimination even if the individual does not intend to pursue a Claim.

Reporter: Refers to an individual who notifies a Rhodes Mandatory Reporter of an alleged violation of the Sex/Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct policy. A Reporter can be any individual who reports to Rhodes that they are a victim or survivor of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct; that they have been affected by sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct, or that they have knowledge of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct happening to or affecting someone else.

Respondent: Refers to an individual against whom a Claim has been filed or Report has been made and whose conduct is alleged to have violated this policy.

Sex/Gender Discrimination: Refers to the unequal treatment of an individual based on their sex or gender in any employment decision, education program or educational activity receiving Federal financial assistance. Such programs or activities include, but are not limited to, admission, hiring and recruitment, financial aid, academic programs, student treatment and services, counseling and guidance, discipline, classroom assignment, grading, vocational education, recreation, physical education, athletics, housing and employment. The prohibition on sex discrimination also covers unlawful discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions. Also prohibited as sex discrimination is any act which is based on parental, family, or marital status and which is applied differently based on sex.

Sexual Assault: See Sexual Misconduct below, Subsection E.

Sexual Exploitation: See Sexual Misconduct below, Subsection F.

Sexual Harassment: See Sexual Misconduct below, Subsection G.

Sexual Misconduct: Is a broad term that encompasses sexually-motivated misconduct as described in this policy, including conduct of an unwelcome and/or criminal nature, whether such conduct occurs between strangers, acquaintances, or intimate partners. For the purposes of this policy, the following terms are collectively referred to as “Sexual Misconduct” and will be defined in detail below: Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Nonconsensual Sexual Contact, Nonconsensual Sexual Penetration, Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Violence, and Stalking.

A. Dating Violence: Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the alleged victim. The existence of such a relationship will be determined based on a consideration of the length of the relationship; the type of relationship; and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence. 34 C.F.R. § 668.46.

B. Domestic Violence or “Domestic Assault”: Under Tennessee law, a person commits domestic assault when they intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause bodily injury, a reasonable fear of imminent bodily injury, or physical contact that would be regarded as extremely offensive or provocative to a reasonable person in the following categories:

  • Adults or minors who are current or former spouses;
  • Adults or minors who live together or who have lived together (Rhodes will not apply this definition to college roommates in a dispute that does not involve an allegation of sex or gender discrimination);
  • Adults or minors who are dating or who have dated or who have or had a sexual relationship, but does not include fraternization between two individuals in a business or social context;
  • Adults or minors related by blood or adoption;
  • Adults or minors who are related or were formerly related by marriage; or
  • Adult or minor children of a person in a relationship that is described in one of the categories listed above.

C. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: “Sexual contact” is defined under Tennessee law as the intentional touching of another person's intimate parts, or the intentional touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the other person's intimate parts, if that intentional touching can be reasonably construed as being for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification. Such contact is deemed non-consensual if done without the other person's affirmative consent (see definition above).

D. Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration: “Sexual penetration” is defined under Tennessee law as sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anal intercourse, or any other intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person's body or of any object into the genital or anal openings of any other person's body. Such contact is deemed non-consensual if done without the other person's affirmative consent (see definition above).

E. Sexual Assault: Is defined as any type of sexual conduct, activity or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient of the unwanted sexual conduct, activity or behavior, and includes forced sexual intercourse, sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, rape, attempted rape, statutory rape, sexual battery and aggravated sexual battery.

F. Sexual Exploitation: Occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for their own advantage or benefit, or the benefit of anyone other than the one being exploited. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • Non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity or other private activity, even if that activity occurs in a public or semi-public place;
  • Non-consensual dissemination of video, photographs, or audio of sexual activity or other private activity, including dissemination by a third party or a person not involved in the original conduct;
  • Exceeding the boundaries of consent (such as, permitting others to hide in a closet and observe consensual sexual activity, videotaping of a person using a bathroom or engaging in other private activities);
  • Engaging in voyeurism, exposing one’s breasts, buttocks, or genitals in a non-consensual circumstance or inducing another to expose their breasts, buttocks, or genitals without affirmative consent;
  • Prostituting another person;
  • Engaging in consensual sexual activity with another person while knowingly infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or other sexually transmitted disease or infection (STD or STI,) and without informing the other person of such disease or infection; and
  • Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying.

G. Sexual Harassment: Conduct that is sexual in nature, is unwelcome and interferes with a Rhodes College community member’s ability to perform a job, participate in activities, and/or participate fully in the college’s education programs. It is a form of misconduct that is demeaning to others and undermines the integrity of the employment relationship and/or learning environment. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical contact, or other verbal, written, or electronic communication of a sexual nature when: (1) Submission to that conduct or communication is made a term or condition, explicitly or implicitly, of obtaining employment or education; (2) Submission to or rejection of that conduct or communication by an individual is used as a factor in decisions affecting that individual’s employment or education; or (3) That conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s employment or education, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment or educational environment. Sexual harassment may be a one-time event or it may be part of a persistent and pervasive pattern.

Sexual harassment is unlawful and prohibited regardless of whether it is between or among members of the same sex or opposite sex. Sexual harassment may also consist of inappropriate gender-based comments and gender stereotyping. Examples of conduct constituting sexual harassment and which could create a hostile environment include, but are not limited to:

  • Engaging in unlawful conduct based on one's gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, including, but not limited to, acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex/gender or sex/gender-stereotyping, even if the acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature;
  • Making unwelcome sexual advances, propositions or other sexual or gender-based comments, such as sexual or gender-oriented gestures, sounds, remarks, jokes or comments about an individual's gender, sex, sexuality or sexual experiences;
  • Requesting sexual favors, or engaging in other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature;
  • Verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentaries about an individual's body, sexually degrading words used to describe an individual, or suggestive or obscene letters, notes, drawings, pictures or invitations, or through digital media ;
  • Conditioning any aspect of an individual’s employment or academic participation on their response to sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature;
  • Creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or academic environment through digital media or by sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature; and
  • Conduct that is criminal in nature, such as rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexually motivated stalking and other forms of sexual violence.

H. Sexual Violence: Consists of physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent (e.g., due to the student’s age or use of drugs or alcohol, or because an intellectual or other disability prevents the student from having the capacity to give consent). A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including, but not limited to, rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion.

I. Stalking is defined as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others, or to suffer substantial emotional distress. Under Tennessee law, stalking means a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested, and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested. The phrase “course of conduct” means a pattern of direct or indirect conduct composed of a series of two (2) or more separate non-continuous acts evidencing a continuity of purpose, including but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.

Types of stalking could include, but are not limited to:

  • Following the targeted person;
  • Approaching or confronting that person in a public place or on private property;
  • Persistent and unwelcome attempts to contact the person by phone, electronic communication (including via the internet and cellphones), or regular mail, either anonymously or non-anonymously;
  • Vandalizing the person’s property or leaving unwanted items for the person;
  • Persistently appearing at the person’s classroom, residence, or workplace without that person's permission or other lawful purpose;
  • Cyber-stalking, in which a person follows, observes, monitors, or surveils another person through the use of electronic media such as the Internet, digital media networks, blogs, cell phones, texts or other similar devices; and
  • Using visual or audio recording devices or hidden or remote cameras used without the subject’s consent.

Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board: Refers to the three-member decision-making body, composed of trained College faculty and staff that considers cases brought under this policy. Each particular Hearing Board is constituted, as needed, from the available pool of faculty and staff who are trained to serve as Advisors and Board members. One of the three Board members will be designated as the chairperson. The Hearing Board hears the facts and circumstances of an alleged policy violation as presented by the Investigator, a Claimant, a Respondent and/or witnesses at a Formal Resolution Hearing. This body is responsible for determining if a policy violation has occurred and whether/what sanctions are appropriate.

Sexual Violence: See Sexual Misconduct above, Subsection H.

Stalking: See Sexual Misconduct above, Subsection I.

Supporter: Refers to any person, regardless of their association with the college, who a Reporter, Claimant, or Respondent may want to support them through a portion of or the entire process. A Supporter is not required, but is encouraged to help the party with emotional and personal support. When present during interviews, hearings, and appeals, the Supporter cannot take an active role. A supporter can be a friend, family member, or any trusted person who can provide needed care to a party.

Title IX: Refers to a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. Title IX prohibits the use of federal money to support sex discrimination in education programs and provides individual citizens effective protection against those practices. Title IX applies, with a few specific exceptions, to all aspects of federally funded education programs or activities. In addition to traditional educational institutions such as colleges, universities, and elementary and secondary schools, Title IX also applies to any education or training program operated by a recipient of federal financial assistance.

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